The leadership of Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, has welcomed today’s Australian Government announcements that will see the work of Orygen extended until 2023, and will also see Orygen develop a National University Mental Health Framework.
The federal Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt, made the announcements today while visiting Parkville, where he toured the site of Orygen’s near-complete integrated youth mental health clinical and translational research facility. The Australian Government invested $5million into the facility through its Prioritising Mental Health – Research measure.
Orygen’s Executive Director, Professor Patrick McGorry, expressed his gratitude to the Minister and the government for their renewed commitment to improving outcomes for young people experiencing mental ill-health.
“The extension of our funding to the National Centre will allow us to continue our focus on providing national leadership for youth mental health,” Professor McGorry said. “At the same time as we continue to accelerate our strong research, policy advice and workforce programs to build the evidence for effective new approaches and interventions in youth mental health.
“Approximately one million young people experience mental ill-health in Australia each year. This has significant personal, social and economic ramifications for our community.”
The funding announcement for Orygen to develop a National University Mental Health Framework comes following the release of Orygen’s major report Under the radar: The mental health of Australian university students in 2017.
Ms Vivienne Browne, Orygen’s Principal Adviser, Government Relations and Policy, who authored the report, said it revealed there were significant numbers of students in Australian universities who were experiencing mental health issues.
“It also showed that many student support services within universities are seeing an increase in demand and increasingly complex and severe of mental health problems, including suicidality, eating disorders and very high levels of psychological distress,” Ms Browne said.
“The framework we will develop will be informed by a national consultation with both the university and mental health sectors to identify best practice in responding to mental health issues within post-secondary education settings. In particular, it will recognise and tap into the great initiatives that have already been developed by a number of Australian and international universities that have been on the front foot responding to this issue.
“Mental health is everyone’s responsibility, including universities. The funding announcement today means that we can strengthen partnerships between the university and mental health sectors and work toward safeguarding and restoring the mental health and wellbeing of university students and ensure they achieve the best possible outcomes,” she said.